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Lyons NY has the one of the best canal ambassador team  I know*. When summer yachts come through, the welcoming committee stop by.  And some interesting boats visit Lyons.  Take Farallone, from yesterday’s post.  By the way, if you’ve not read the additional info on Farallone I added in the comments section, check it out.

Since this sign, propped up beside the wooden tender over the engine is a bit hard to read, let me highlight some of the info:  12 identical Q-boats built for the War Department, second oldest Luders boat in existence (I wonder what’s the oldest.), was personal  launch of two Quartermaster Generals of the US, moved to the west for transport to and from Alcatraz, served as a salmon sport fish boat,  and then after a move back east  has traveled 10,000 in the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast in the past 25 or so years.

Ahoy, Jon.   The owner of the boat back then and maybe still is catboat Jon, a specialist in wooden buckets.

While Farallone was in Lyons, Churchill moved Lois McClure through town as well.

Broadsword also stopped in Lyons, making her one of not that many yachts to have transited the Pacific, the Panama Canal, and the Erie Canal.

That’s lock E-27 in the distance, and Broadsword was headed west,

in the bottom of 27 and

out the top.

All photos, thanks to Bob Stopper in Lyons NY.

*Let me clarify the first sentence.  Many canal towns have ambassadors who are very knowledgeable about the local area.  I’ve found such folks happy to share the insights and assist with problem solving.  Once I stopped at a canal town and was welcomed by the mayor who made sure we had a pleasant stay.  I know the folks in Lyons more than I know most towns because I grew up near there.

 

 

Languishing along the Erie Canal, now in the dry dock adjacent to E-28A, is tugboat Grouper.  As she continues in limbo, folks far from the Erie Canal remember her, recall family experiences long ago, not thinking of her as Grouper at all, but rather . . .  Green Bay. Here she assists passenger steamer SS South American, a steamer that plied the Lakes for over 50 years.

Some look at the photo below and can identify relatives.

She has been shipshape with

many assists behind her, like Hennepin here.  This laker was known by the name Hennepin between 1937 and 1975.

Of the many captains who worked on her over the years, Lester Gamble, to the right below,  was the captain from 1954-68.

Many thanks to the the Gamble family for sharing these photos.

Below are two photos I took of the highly endangered Green Bay/Grouper last month.  For all her previous names and history, click here.

For the dozens of previous posts I’ve done on this boat, click here.

 

 

Never did I think a report from a federal judge of United States District Court, Northern District, New York dated January 31, 1955, would make such an interesting read.  It  emerges from two separate but related incidents that occurred in the port of Albany in late September 1953.  One of the companies involved still works in the region with a different boat by the same name, Ellen S. Bouchard, the 1951 boat.  I’m sure an image could be found of that boat, since it was scrapped under a different name as late as 1953.

What emerges from the report and fascinates me is an image of the past when a different type of vessel (see image below) plied the waterways and trade patterns were quite unlike today.  Frank A. Lowery, the vessel below, is described in different places here as a steamer, a motor vessel, and a canal propeller.  It’s a wooden barge built in Brooklyn in 1918 for a company called Ore Carrying Corp and –I assume–called OCCO 101.  In 1929 it was made a self-propelled barge, presumably looking like the photo below taken in 1950 in Lyons, NY.  Lowery at the time of the incident in Albany was loaded and had six barges in tow.  Note in the photo below you see the bow of one barge.

Below you see the particulars on Lowery throughout its lives.

The other thing that intrigues me about the legal report embedded in the first sentence of this post is the trade route alluded to. Lowery, her barges, and no doubt many like them transported wheat from Buffalo to Albany and scrap from Albany to Buffalo, via the relatively newly opened Barge Canal.  Folks working on the barge Canal would have no idea what to make of traffic on the canal in 2018 such as this, this, or  this.

Yesterday’s post featured a black/white photo of the image below.  Posting it, generated the helpful background info contained in the comment by William Lafferty.  It also generated the image below.

Many thanks to Dave Lauster and Edson Ennis, who generated the initial questions and these images, and to Bob Stopper for the tireless relaying and much more.  Somewhat related to today’s post is this set from Bob in 2014.

One of the goals I’ve had for this blog for some years now has been an effort to bring into the public domain images of years past exactly like these when –to repeat the points above– vessels and trade patterns were different.  I look forward to continuing this effort.  With your assistance, more “far-flung” posts are just around the next bend.

An organization with some overlapping goals is the Canal Society of New York State.  Click here to see the list of presentations at the winter symposium planned for March 2 in Rochester NY.  I plan to be there.  They also have a FB presence where they frequently post photos similar to the ones in today’s and yesterday’s posts.  Consider joining in one or more of these.

This seems like it could be a useful line of posts . . . research-prompting photos.

Thanks to Bob Stopper, this is a generations-old set taken in Lyons at lock E-27.  The photos are sharp, the names are very clear, and we’re looking to confirm the identity

of the deckhand on F. W. G. Winn Jr.  Hugh O’Donnell shows up in the 1953-54 Merchant Vessels of the United States.   Also, in 1925, the tug was involved in a court case, some records are here, involving the loss of cargo from two barges  . . .

I’m looking for any info on the tug that might confirm the identity of the deckhand.

And next . . .  Paul Strubeck sent me this photo yesterday and mentioned that it’d been on tugster before.  Hurricane Irma and said destruction happened a year and a half ago.  I’d actually not noticed this story a year and a half ago.

but the photo I put up was here from four years ago.  I mentioned then that she was built in 1930 in Philly and before carrying the name constant was called Van Dyke 4, Big Shot, and James McAllister.

Does anyone know what happened to her after the hurricane?  Likely she was scrapped, and I did find a photo of an overturned hull . . .  But anything else?

Many thanks to Bob and Paul for sharing these photos.

Full disclosure . . . I’m not feeling much festive this year personally.  So maybe it’s my own wary eye that leads to my seeing so few wreaths on boats, maybe it’s just this lingering head cold.

But it warmed my heart to see them, like here

on Pegasus, and

ditto on Alex McAllister.

 

And although this is not a set of Christmas decorations per se, this would be something I’d put in my front yard . . .  if I had one.  Nav aids fished out of the Erie Canal in prep for ice skating season . . .  are far superior to the hideous (IMHO) air inflated fabric figurines that seem to have taken over lawn ornamentation in my ‘hoods.  The photo below comes thanks to Bob Stopper.

Why have no works of popular culture NOT featured dancing navaids on a snowy barge and herded into lock by a brightly painted tugboat?

Thanks Bob.  And merry Christmas–whatever you need to do to make it merry–to everyone reading this today.

All photos and sentiments by Will Van Dorp, who shares this link about the Flying Santa tradition of New England, an effort that cheered the family of a once-dear friend.

The blog will take Tuesday, December 25, off, since tugster wants to leave Tugster Tower–or the sixth boro spire– and NOT wear out the keyboard.

If you want Christmas posts from previous years, check here.

 

 

Grouper!  This boat has been the focus of a long series of posts dating back to April 23, 2008.  I had expected resolution years ago, but so far, unresolved.  However,bg  there is some news, although it’s hardly new since Bob Stopper sent me these photos two full months ago already.  Have a long look:  she’s out of the water in the dry dock in Lyons, NY.

Launched in 1912, this is some solid craft.

The news is only that she’s out of the water right now.

Her future could well involve becoming fish habitat, deep

in salt waters.

We will follow this story.  Many thanks to Bob Stopper for these photos.

 

Here are the previous posts in this series.  And here are the posts I’ve done earlier on the 1929 Ward’s Island, whose builder’s plate photo I took in October 2016.  I was told it was removed some time ago and is in a safe place.  Here was my first post on “Ward’s.”

As a baseline photo of the double-ender ferry entered a second life in 1937 as a derrick boat or “crane ship,” I offer this shot I took in Lyons in March 2018.  That’s snow in the foreground.

In one of her most notable roles, she assisted in the clean up near lock E-12 after the Thruway bridge collapsed into Schoharie Creek, an event I recall vividly because I traversed that bridge just the day before.

Note the bow prop.  I wonder if at one time it had a rudder, as

you see in this photo of the stern prop.

The rest of these photos come from Bob Stopper.  Notice the glass has been removed from the wheelhouse, but the flag still flies.

Little by little, its crane abilities are removed and placed alongside the dry dock.

 

Pulling the shafts proved complicated,

x

but eventually the once crane ship looks more like a curvaceous barge.

Who knows whether these props will be reefed along with the ship . . . .?

 

A tug is expected to arrive in  Lyons imminently to move this vessel from central–almost western New York–to tidewater, then down the Hudson, and out to the designated reefing ground.

And in other news from Lyons, here’s who showed up late Tuesday afternoon . . . with some new signage on the stack and engine cover.  Compare with here from a month ago . . .

 

Here we are in 2018, and Grouper is still in purgatory,

aground on a soft smooth bottom created when the Canal is drained,

when the waterway looks like a brook.  I’m told that portions of the Canal in Oswego have been drained as of last week, and I hope to see for myself one of these days.

Grouper, if you are new to this blog, is a stranded Great Lakes tug–sibling to these in Cleveland, and launched in 1912!!

Many thanks to Bob Stopper for these photos.

 

 

Jack Ronalds took this photo of Ontario (Jeffrey K. McAllister) and Erie (Missy McAllister) in Canso back in August 2016.

John Jedrlinic took this in the sixth boro in December 2008.

I took the photo below a few months earlier in 2008, as the transfer from Normandy to Ross Sea was happening.

Grouper has been featured here many, many times over the years, but you’ve never seen this much of her out of the water;  it’s “draw-down” time on the Erie Canal near lock E-28A.  These photos come from Bob Stopper a few weeks ago.

 

From Bangkok, Ashley Hutto sends along photos of a decidedly pastel Thai tug

with two barges

on a hawser.

Thanks to Jack, Jed, Bob, and Ashley for these photos.

 

More than a week ago, these tanks entered the Erie Canal system at lock E-2 in Waterford.  Sunday afternoon they tied up for the night in Lyons below E-27.  Let’s call the first nine photos here Batch 1.

 

This morning early, they made their way through E-27 and then on to E-28A.

Here’s a view back toward E-27 and the village of Lyons . . . around the bend.

The forward most barge gets pushed in, unmade from the second barge, and then CMT Otter reverses out with that second barge.

The unaccompanied barge is moved out the upper gates by means of the capstan, a machine as old as the Barge Canal and very infrequently used.

After this barge is moved forward and secured to the wall, the gates close, the lock is drained, the lower gates opened, and the rest of the tow enters to be raised to the level of the forward barge.

These next photos taken west of Newark . . . E-28 B . . . show just how narrow this part of the Canal is, and

silt that’s lain on the bottom gets stirred up.

Here’s an article from the NYTimes, but I wish the author had spoken with a wider range of informants.

Many thanks to Bob Stopper (1,2, 6, 7) , Jason Ladue (8, 9) , and John Van Dorp (3, 4, 5) for these photos.

Now Batch 2, thanks to Bob Stopper.  Bob took this batch this morning very near my “upstate home,”  between Newark and Widewaters.  Note that this batch is moved by HR Pike.  

For a long tow, this part of the Canal  (same as here) is very narrow.

It’s mind-boggling that these inland waters are directly connected to the Pacific Ocean and China, but it’s the case.

The school bus here is crossing the Whitbeck Road Bridge, a span I’ve crossed probably a thousand times . . .

Many thanks to all, especially to Bob Stopper, who was unstoppable in getting these photos just this morning.

 

 

 

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